Saturday, 24 October 2009

Friday fav

Yes, this is Saturday, but I spent a lot of Friday wondering what I would pick as my fav when, just before I left work, it became apparent.

If you've ever visited my workplace, you've probably seen Tevita, our security guard. You might have heard me talk about him. But what you may not know is that his physical size is dwarfed by his heart and his generosity.

To Tevita, every single person inside this building is an individual - be they staff or customers. He makes a point of getting to know the regulars - many of whom are homeless. Each person is special to him. We are his extended family. When one of our staff was being stalked, Tevita would come in on his day off, to walk her to the bus stop and make sure she was left alone on her way home. One day my mum visited me at work, and gave Tevita a hug and thanked him for being so lovely (she's heard the stories) and he said 'nobody hurts my girls.'

He goes out of his way to make all of our lives easier. Trust me, the Saturday staff have noticed a marked decrease in problems since Tevita started working Saturdays. This weekend he's working on Sunday, too, because the troublemakers - the bad ones - come in when he's not on duty. And that one day is a Sunday. (Thank goodness it's a long weekend, so he gets his day off. We don't want him back in hospital suffering from exhaustion & a dickey heart. It's happened before.)

Tevita has made a room full of council staff cry, in a training session on dealing with 'rough sleepers' (ie homeless) - he just told us all how he feels about them. How he had had to stop giving them the $2 they needed for a feed at the shelter, because it was costing too much money. How it is important to get to know them, and to treat them as people, and to respect them. Seeing this giant of a man in tears set us all off.

A few years ago, Tevita received an award for being GREAT (exhibiting all the aspects of our customer service standards) and received a standing ovation from the staff in Central. I overheard the council staff member who oversees libraries saying 'he must be well-liked.' He isn't. He is loved. And he loves us all back.

I was inspired to choose him as my fav because yesterday, just before I left work, he told me about a regular. Every day Tevita is called upstairs to wake this guy up - he falls asleep on the floor of the newspaper room. So, after a few days of this, Tevita tells him he might have to trespass him. The guy explains that he can't sleep at night because the others beat him up - hit his feet with a baseball bat so he can't run away - so he sleeps in the safety of the library during the day. Tevita tells him he understands, but that he is upsetting the staff and other customers and that he can't sleep on the floor. However, he can come & find Tevita, and Tevita will find him somewhere. And - Tevita told me he has a spare car at home that he might give to this guy, so he has somewhere to go and be. Tevita wants to see him sitting in this car, with a girlfriend beside him - turning his life around.

Tevita - I am humbled by the beauty that is inside you. I am blessed to know you. You inspire us to be better people. And to see beneath the surface of someone's circumstances to who they really are.

Thank you. God bless you.

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